Photo by Engin Akyurt.

New Year is a time to look back with gratitude for the gifts of 2022 and to open our hearts and minds to receive the gifts that our loving God has waiting for us in the coming year.

As we watch the sun go down on New Year’s Eve, our hearts wait in anticipation for the emergence of the sun rising on this New Year. It holds opportunities and possibilities for each one of us to enable life to flourish for all as we face the crises affecting people, other species, and Earth itself.

Pope Francis in his New Year and 56th World Day of Peace message, calls us to work together in combatting the effects of COVID-19 and to:

Allow our heart to be changed by our experience of the crisis, to let God, at this time in history, transform our customary criteria for viewing the world around us. He also impels us to embark together on paths of peace by confronting the challenges of our world in a spirit of responsibility and compassion.Message of His Holiness Pope Francis for the 56th World Day of Peace – 1 January 2023

As we embrace the unfolding mystery in this new moment, let us ponder what are the dreams and hopes we hold within for the life of the world. Each New Year carries with it a gentle reminder to keep focused on the purpose for which we have been born and, on the gift we are meant to share with others through our daily encounters.

Let us leave space in our hearts to welcome the unexpected guest, for the seed of potential to birth within and for the wisdom of God to breathe new life within and beyond us.

Let these words of Christine Valters Painter be a blessing for you in 2023:

May the year ahead bring an awareness of the wholeness within you,
A vision of the dreams you long for,
Signs of the birthing of new life,
An experience of the peace you desire,
The courage to enter new doors, cross thresholds and discover possibilities
You have yet to imagine.Christine Valters Painter, Crossing the Threshold: New Year, New Beginnings

Happy New Year and may it be full of the joy-filled surprises.

Sr Monica Cavanagh
Congregational Leader